The State Flag of the 23rd is Presented to the Regiment
"Flag Presentaion" 12/15/61
Speaker Crow handing the flag to Col.Birney
Left to Right... Col. Birney, Judge Terry, Speaker Crow, Col. Puleston Wright M.C, Senator Cowan
Gettysburg Battlefield Online
Pennsylvania Volunteers was recieved by the regiment from the state on
December 15th 1861. It was presented by speaker of the house Galusha A
Grow on behalf of Governor Curtain. It was made by Horstmann Brothers and
Company and was the only flag issued to the regiment.
Horstmann Brothers and Company 5th and Cherry St. Philadelphia PA
Advance the Colors
At Fair Oaks on May 31st 1862 during the battle the flag was found on
the ground. It was quickly retrieved and brought back safely to the lines.
The 23rd lost 129 that day. At the conclusion of the Fredricksburg
Campaign, the regiment retired the state color. Colonel John Ely said that
the flag was worn torn, bloody and pierced with bullets from the battles
of Fair Oaks, White Oak Bridge andMalvern Hill. In January of 1863 the
flag was sent to Philadelphia to the adjucants home. Colonel Glenn
obtained the flag in 1864 when he heard that it was not properly stored
and then gave the flag to State care on July 4th 1866.
After the state flag was retired some of the officers in the unit pooled some money to purchase a new flag that the regiment would use for the remainder of the war. This flag would be used during the charge of Maryes Heights at Fredricksburg on May 3rd 1863. A month later the flag and the unit would be used as skirmishers on Culps Hill in Gettysburg.
Philadelphia women presented the unit with several flags during its term of service. After Antietam the regiment was presented with a pair of flank guidons and a new stand of colors. In December of 1863 a ball was held in Philadelphia in which money was raised for uniforms,gloves and a new flag with the battles the 23rd participated in painted on the red and white stripes. None of these "Philadelphia Flag" are in existance today. Most of the flags spoken of here were carried in a parade in Philadelphia on July 4th 1866. In 1914 the flag was carried in parade for the final time by Phillip Stengle. It was put into the rotunda of The capitol Building in Harrisburg , PA where it has been housed ever since.
I want to take the time to thank Lisa Wray Mazzanti whom had the Twenty
Third Pa Volunteers Unit History republished in 1999. Her Great-Great
Grandfather William Wray was with Birney's Zouaves and wrote the
Regimental History. Matthew Spence is the Birney's Zouave soldier standing
proudly at the topof the monument on Culps Hill in Gettysburg National
Military Park. She has been kind enough to allow me to scan the images
from the Regimental History. Also to Shaun Grenan for giving various
images for use on this website. My friend Larry Fetter whom has supported
and taught me many things about the Civil War and understands my passions
with Birney's Zouaves.
Pennsylvania State Colors
State Capitol Harrisburg PA
Regimental Histories were done by many units in the early 1900's. It
was a sort of record of what each unit experienced told from the veterans
themselves. Knowing that most of the veterans of The Civil War would be
dead by 1920 most of the units formed a committee to carfully detail thier
units history. I believe that out of all of the Regimental Histories that
have ever been written (Union or Confederate) in which many Ive read, The
Birney's Zouave Civil War--Life of The twenty third Volunteers is the best
documented of them all. Over 400 pages of The units muster
roll,diaries,photos,reports,ect. I most highly recommend buying a copy of
it for yourself.
The information to put this write-up together was taken from the following sources:
“Life of the 23rd Pennsylvania “Birney’s Zouaves” ,William J. Wray 1904, 1999,2004
Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee
Research and Studies of Frank P. Marrone Jr.
What are people saying about This site!
"Huzzah for the Zouaves!!!" Jeremy
"Great Website!"--Joan Asburg-- Napa
"Thank you for putting up a page on
Birney's Zouaves!"--Christine Buccerelli--Philadelphia,PA